In the 1970s, Italian cinema saw a cultural renaissance with the debut of its beloved comic duo: Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, who starred together in a total of 18 films.
Born Mario Girotti and Carlo Pedersoli, respectively, Hill and Spencer had a breakout in the 1967 film God Forgives…I Don’t, the first installment of a trilogy followed by Ace High and Boot Hill. While it was a typical Spaghetti Western, violent and picaresque, the duo rose to their stardom in a comedic take on the genre: They Call Me Trinity (1970). A cult classic, Trinity received a commercially successful sequel in 1971 and its theme song was used in the ending scene of Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained.
The duo’s characteristics were defined and solidified in Trinity, with Hill as an agile (but often lazy) youth and Spencer as a grumpy muscle with a wholesome heart. They were—and still are—beloved all across Europe, especially in Italy, Germany, and Hungary.
Hill and Spencer went on to star in non-Western films as well, such as …All the Way, Boys! (1972) and Watch Out, We’re Mad! (1974). Their last film together released in 1994, Troublemakers, was a Spaghetti Western comedy directed by none other than Terence Hill himself.
Spencer passed away on June 27, 2016 in Rome, at the age of 86. The reports of his death saddened Europe, and in 2018 a memorial statue was erected in Budapest, where his films were highly popular during the Communist days. He also posthumously received the America Award from the Italy-USA Foundation.
In 2021, a multimedia museum dedicated to the life and works of Bud Spencer was established in Berlin. Curated by the Pedersoli family, the exhibit consists of props and memorabilia from the Hill-Spencer films, life-size replicas of the duo’s characters, and personal items belonging to the late Spencer.
Additionally, the museum shines a light on a lesser-known side of Bud Spencer’s career. Not only was he an actor, he was also an inventor, singer, composer, and founder of the Mistral Air airline. More notably, he was also a successful professional swimmer, participating in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics.